This little site is Google’s first line of defense in patent wars

Three engineers at Google recently came up with a futuristic way to help anyone having trouble making video calls. They proposed that when the algorithm detects a speaker’s accelerated pulse or prolonged “um”, Generative artificial intelligence robots Something that mimics their voice can simply take over.

This cutting-edge idea wasn’t revealed at big company events or academic journals.Instead, it appears in A 1,500-word post On a little-known free website Google has quietly owned and funded the site for nine years. Google had never talked to the press about its site until Wired received a link to an idea on TDCommons last year and got curious.

Scroll through TDCommons and you can read Google’s latest thinking Coordinate smart home gadgets For better sleep, privacy protection in mobile search results, and Use artificial intelligence Summarize a person’s activities from a photo archive.Submissions are not unique to Google; there are approximately 150 organizations, including life value, Ciscoand visaalso posts inventions to the website.

This site is home to ideas that appear to have potential value but are not worth spending tens of thousands of dollars on seeking patentsBy publishing technical details and establishing “prior art,” Google and other companies can avoid future disputes by preventing other companies from patenting similar concepts. Google offers employees a $1,000 bonus for every invention they post on TDCommons—one-tenth of its bonus. Reward its patent seekers, but they also get instant shareable links to gloat about other secret work.

TDCommons joins Google’s long-standingand more vocal music, in an effort to create greater room for free innovation in industries where patents can be used to hinder competitors or extract money from them. The website may be crude and obscure, but it does its job. “The beauty of defensive publication is that the website can be very simple,” said Laura Sheridan, director of patent policy at Google. “It needs to establish a date. And it needs to provide accessible documentation. We don’t More needs to be done.”

Indeed, the experiment has been an effort to break through government bureaucracies and overcome competition from more powerful archives. Sheridan acknowledged it’s a work in progress. TDCommons needs more upload traffic to become less exotic and more dynamic. It offers the unique hope of expanding public access to the technical creativity happening within companies and dedicating more resources to this work.


The strategy underpinning TDCommons dates back decades to the 1950s, When inventions powered IBM and later Xerox began publishing journals filled with what they called technical disclosures. They then sent these journals to the patent office, in part as prior art, to claim the ideas they contained. About 84% of patent applications were rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the 12 months ending September 2023, at least in part, because of prior art failures, according to the agency.

During the dot-com boom of the early 2000s, entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to bring these defensive publications (dpubs) into online repositories. is widely considered the leader, with 215,000 inventions uploaded to date and millions of other documents searchable from the store including the open access research library Unlike TDCommons, publishing or visiting is not free. Uploading up to 25 pages to dpub costs $395, while viewers pay $40 for individual downloads, or $49 per month for unlimited access. USPTO is a member of largest customerMost of the agency’s 9,200 examiners and supervisors subscribe, according to the company.

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